Sometime during the 19th century in Switzerland: After a delirious night of drinking, three herdsmen who are all alone in the alps with their kettle, create a female doll from cloth and a ...
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Sometime during the 19th century in Switzerland: After a delirious night of drinking, three herdsmen who are all alone in the alps with their kettle, create a female doll from cloth and a strangely formed wooden root. When their creation comes to life in form of an evil and beautiful female demon, they have to fear for their lives... Written by
Its a fascinating subject, man laboring beyond the limits of his domain. Eking out a living where nature holds sway, where civilisation has barely crept. Sukkubus makes great use of its location, the majesty and desolation of the Alps, setting for three cattle-herds and their downfall. From the outset their isolation and insignificance against the backdrop is highlighted, tiny and frail human figures against stark white snow, mountain fields or barren rocky hillside, in many shots we see how puny they are against the permanence of nature. And from near the start we see how they make their own constraints against the boundless territory. The first words spoken by any of the three are a recitation of the alpine herders code and soon after the youngest of the group is slapped for going against them in trying to bring down a bird with a slingshot. Slow though the film is, tensions build and spread for most of the run time, humanity against nature, human nature against imposed constraints and Christianity against older beliefs (the two somewhat merged in ritual). Its interesting stuff and a perfect set up, so its a real shame that when the film gets to its real business it disappoints. The tale told is taken from an old Swiss folk tale of three lonely herders who make themselves a woman one drunken night from wood and straw and cloth, only for the woman to come to life and ultimately lead to their doom. Everything up till and including the raising of said woman is solid stuff, but when it comes to the crunch Sukkubus falls down. Its odd given that in earlier moments the film doesn't shy from some pretty dark territory, but where it should have a tensely sensual and freaky final block there are merely a few random jolts and an abrupt, unsatisfying finale. The lacks during the final block are especially unfortunate given how committed the performers are. Peter Simonischek makes for a great rugged and moral grizzly old timer, Giovanni Fruh compelling as his lustier, more detached older companion and Andy Voss as the unknowing youth of the piece, clay to be melded by his elders. The three work up a compelling dynamic which begs to be interrupted, but while Pamela Prati holds a fair deal of visual appeal as the generally naked or near enough villainess and wields a certain feral sexuality and force, she is sorely underused and so only has brief spurts of glory, and too few to make the film really work. Her nakedness does raise the pulse a little, as do the small quantities of grue, but its not enough. Especially frustrating since earlier on the film proves itself to be more advanced in its presentation than one might expect with one particularly creepy moment, but I guess the makers lost their nerve. Ultimately this is a film more interesting than especially good, die hard European horror fans will probably be the most inclined towards it. 5/10 from me I guess.
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